A married couple who had been together for over seven decades died minutes apart while holding hands after succumbing to the novel coronavirus.
Dick Meek, 89, and his wife Shirley Meek, 87, died in the hospital on Saturday, January 16th, just three weeks after celebrating their 70th wedding anniversary.
“They were holding hands and Mom’s head was resting on Dad’s shoulder. Their favorite music was playing softly in the background. It was a beautiful passing,” their family shared. “Theirs was a love story for the ages. They had a fairytale ending…Our hearts are shattered, but we are at peace knowing that they are together forever.”
According to their children, the husband and wife began to feel sick in late December just after celebrating their anniversary.
And while the couple originally thought they had a cold — they tested positive for COVID-19 and on January 8. — they were both admitted to the hospital, according to their daughter, Debbie Howell.
But Dick and Shirley’s condition continued to spiral downhill at a rapid pace — and the family pleaded with hospital staff if the two could be in the same room for their final goodbyes.
“Mom passed first,” Howell shared. “The nurse put mom’s head on my dad’s shoulder and she said to dad, ‘Dick, it’s OK to let go now. Shirley’s waiting for you,’ and he passed within minutes.”
Both Dick and Shirley had been scheduled to receive the COVID-19 vaccine on January 19.
“We are devastated to lose them both at the same time. But, we are blessed that they walked together, hand in hand, through the Gates of Heaven into Eternity – never having to face ‘Until Death Do Us Part,'” they wrote in a joint obituary for Dick and Shirley. “How many people can say that? It’s beyond lovely!!!!”
The family went on to share how Dick and Shirley were “childhood sweethearts who fell in love, started a family, and worked hard to build what has become a legacy of love for all of us.”
“Having devout love for family, they still always made time for each other,” the family said. “They met every single day, no matter where they were in the world, at 3:00 for a date and a toast to each other.”
Dick was described as a former U.S. Air Force sergeant and accomplished carpenter in his obituary, who loved woodworking and handcrafting gifts for his family.
While Shirley was a Burger Chef retiree “who shared her love for humanity by quietly donating to charities every single month.”
They are survived by five children, 13 grandchildren and 28 great-grandchildren.
With a background in the creative and educational fields, Amelia Finefrock is freelance writer, singer-songwriter and nanny based in Chicago.
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